Blues CHL prospects update

By Courtney Wagner

Michal Birner

Michal Birner, LW – Saginaw Spirit, OHL

Height: 6’0, Weight: 183 lbs., DOB: 1986-03-02

A fourth-round selection in 2004, Michal Birner is in his second season in
the OHL. He joined the Saginaw Spirit last season in a trade from the Barrie
Colts. After playing in his native Czech Republic and for his country at
international tournaments, Birner made the jump to the CHL to adapt to the North
American style of hockey. Before being traded to the Spirit he had four goals
and 14 points in 28 games with the Colts. His offensive game improved after the
move, with seven goals and 28 points, and he ended up fourth on the team in
scoring. A solid passer with good puckhandling skills, Birner works hard in the
offensive zone and could benefit from showing more awareness in the defensive
zone. He has improved on his offensive abilities this season and his numbers
prove it. In 29 games he is second on the team in scoring behind Ryan McDonough
with 16 goals, a +13 rating and 42 points, which ties his point total of last

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Nicholas Drazenovic, C – Prince George Cougars, WHL

Height: 6’0, Weight: 172 lbs., DOB: 1987-01-14

A sixth-round selection in 2005, Nicholas Drazenovic is in his fourth season
with the Prince George Cougars of the WHL. Last season he improved on his
offensive play, with 18 goals, 56 points and 24 penalty minutes in 72 games. He
was second on the Cougars in scoring behind Chicago prospect Dustin Byfuglien. Drazenovic also stepped up in 2004-05 because of injuries to Eric Hunter. A creative player who possesses strong
offensive skills, Drazenovic has a strong shot and is a smooth skater.
His play this year has also been impressive. He is second on the team
in scoring behind Hunter with 13 goals, 30 points and a +5 rating in 33 games.
He was a member of Team WHL at the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge this year where
he recorded three assists in two games.

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Mike Gauthier, D – Prince Albert Raiders, WHL

Height: 6’3, Weight: 185 lbs., DOB: 1987-03-26

A sixth-round pick in 2005, Mike Gauthier is in his third full season with
the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL. Gauthier missed part of the 2004-05 season
due to a broken leg suffered in January, but returned to the lineup in time for
the playoffs. In the 40 games he did play he had two goals, three points and 93
penalty minutes. Known as a big blueliner who is solid in his own end, Gauthier
works hard every night. He plays well in front of his own net and is a strong
physical presence. Not known for offensive abilities, Gauthier has already
doubled his point total of a year ago with four goals, seven points, and 67
penalty minutes in 29 games.

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Scott Jackson, D – Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL

Height: 6’3, Weight: 200 lbs., DOB: 1987-02-05

A second-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2005 draft, Scott Jackson is in his
third full season with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL. Playing in all 72
games for the Thunderbirds in 2004-05, Jackson has six goals, 22 points and 46
penalty minutes. He was recognized in 2004-05 by being invited to the Home Hardware
CHL/NHL Top Prospects game. He was selected as one of 44 players to participate
in the national junior team development camp this past August, although he
didn’t make the cut for the selection camp and he was a member of Team WHL,
along with fellow St. Louis prospect Nicholas Drazenovic, at the ADT
Canada-Russia Challenge where he had three assists in one game played. Strong in his own
end, Jackson plays physical and delivers solid, open-ice hits. In 27 games this
season he has two goals, nine points and 28 penalty minutes.


Ryan Reaves, RW – Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL

Height: 6’1, Weight: 193 lbs., DOB: 1987-01-20

A fifth-round selection in 2005, Ryan Reaves is
in his second season with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL. In 2004-05 he
wasn’t an offensive threat, playing on a team with the likes of Washington
prospect Eric Fehr and Pittsburgh prospect Ryan Stone. In 64 games Reaves had
seven goals, 16 points and 79 penalty minutes. He plays hard, with
determination, and delivers big, hard hits. Reaves has almost surpassed his
point total of last season with seven goals, 13 points and a -6 rating in 32


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